Author Interview and Giveaway: Biggle and Bee, by Steve Cypert

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Biggle and Bee, by Steve Cypert

Biggle and Bee is a cute children’s story with a good moral message. The story follows Biggle, a young inexperienced groundhog who finds himself lost and alone in the wilderness. Soon Biggle stumbles upon Bee, a newly hatched gosling. Bee had been taken by a sly old fox and buried in the ground for safe keeping. When Biggle discovers Bee, he realizes that he must forgive Bee’s parents, who couldn’t see passed their “ugly” differences and had bullied Biggle and his mama. Nonetheless, Biggle must try and return Bee to his family through many dangers. Along the way, they learn what bullies really are; not to judge others by what they look like; and how to gain a little trust in one another and those around them. This is a touching story of love, self-confidence, strength of character and good old fashion cuteness.

Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 13, 2012)

My Thoughts:
Biggle and Bee is a short children’s novella with a message.  It is a modern day fable with an old fashioned feel.

The messages contained in the book are plentiful and easily identified.  Beauty is what your heart looks like, not your outward appearance.  Dishonesty leads to disaster.  Kindness breeds kindness, and the list goes on.  

The voice of the author, the subject matter of the book, and the fable-like plot all lend themselves to the old fashioned atmosphere in the story.  It almost felt as if I had picked up one of my old Peter Rabbit or Old Mother Westwind books.  

This is an independently published work, and I feel like that fact was fairly obvious as I read.  It is well written, and there are no spelling or grammar mistakes that I can think of (applause!).  However, there are parts of the story that come off as unpolished or unrealistic.  It could have really used some illustrations, too.

Overall, it was a nice story with a good moral.  There is quite a bit of action and strong language (no cursing, just insults and condescending remarks) used throughout the story, so it would probably be suitable for children 6 and up.

About the Author:

Steve is the second child of seven born in Los Angeles, California to a wonderful mother and father. Born into the LDS faith, Steve served a 2 year full-time LDS mission at the age of nineteen in the northern half of Ohio.

At twenty-four he moved from his parents’ home in Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, Utah to try out life on his own. 2 decades later he still lives in Utah, where he found and married his beautiful wife, Katie.

Today they live in South Jordan, Utah with their bald little 6 month old son, Ozzie and their very hairy son, Duke – a three year old Shih Tzu (see Steve’s blog for a photo).

Before finding his [mostly] sweet wife, Steve graduated from LDS Business College in 2000. He then moved on to the University of Utah where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications three years later.

For as long as he can remember, Steve has loved to come up with creative and far-fetched stories. Sometime in the early 2000’s, he decided to put one of his story ideas on paper. He wrote a poem titled “Pirate and Captain”. The poem was an adventurous tale. He then decided to write the story as a novel. He wrote “Port of Errors” in just three months. However, it took him nine years to research, edit and put the missing pieces together. Port of Errors will eventually be a trilogy under the name “Born of Tyranny”.

Steve will always love the stereotypical, romanticized version of piracy. But he has more cooking in that oven. Steve has now written a second novel, the first in a series of 4. But this one is a YA paranormal fantasy – out in 2012. The title, at first, was “The Son of Nicholas Namely”. But Steve soon changed the name to “Scapemaker”, which will be the name of the series. As of January 2013, the second book has a completed, detailed outline and he will begin writing it shortly.

Steve loved photography and is very good at it. He shot weddings for a while, but mainly loves wildlife and landscape. He also loves volleyball and hiking. He has a mountain bike, but never rides it. He loves to write. And finally, he is a sad self-indulgent, fanatic, addict, junkie, freak, and lover – of movies!

Interview with the Author: 

If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go? 
I would love to visit 17th century England or Spain around the golden Age of piracy. I know it’s not as romantic a visual as we have of that era, but I would like to see what it was really like. As long as I can visit and see it without engaging in the happenings, I think I would be content. I’d like to witness what it was like aboard a pirate galleon. I’d like to see how the people were treated by their monarchs. It’s all really fascinating to me.

The first full length book I actually wrote is called Born of Tyranny: Port of Errors. It’s set in that exact time and place. It’s more of a young adult/adult series.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Some of my inspiration comes from my close friend, Neal Moore, who is now a traditionally published author. But he writes non-fiction. His book is titled: Down the Mississippi: A Modern-day Huck on America’s River Road. He has always chased his dreams and done whatever it took to get there. We grew up together as teenagers. But another inspiration is Amanda Hocking, who every successfully self-published her own works. I admit that I still need to read her stuff. You’ll find in much of my writing that I am inspired by visual tales. I love creative fantasy, paranormal, and epic journeys on the big screen and that’s how I tend to write—much like you’re in the middle of an ongoing movie.

Why did you decide to write children’s fiction?
Writing children’s fiction wasn’t something I actually decided to do. I actually write Historical Fiction and YA paranormal. I’ working on a series called Scapemaker right now.

However, I was watching TV one day and I saw this wildlife story about geese on a prairie outside of the U.S. I am always fascinated by wildlife and Nature. It featured a fox that was after the geese eggs. When he got the eggs he hid them in his winter cash. I thought, “What if a groundhog came across the egg? What would the groundhog do?” I also thought, “What if the fox died or couldn’t get back to the egg. Would it still hatch?”

My father-in-law, Richard “Mac” McIntyre, wrote an off-color children’s story called Flat Dog about 40 years ago. He passed away in March 2012. I helped his wife, Rustie, self-publish Flat Dog. My sister drew the images. From that point, I felt it would be fun to write a children’s story.

That wildlife story scenario came to mind and I felt it would make a need children’s story. That was about 2 years after I saw that program. I just started writing and a month later Biggle and Bee was finished. I still plan to illustrate it.

I plan on writing Biggle and Bee: A Christmas tale. It’s about Santa Clause getting lost in the forest on his way to deliver gifts to the children living just outside the forest. Biggle and Bee must help him find his way out of the forest to deliver the gifts before the end of Christmas Eve. I may write a few other stories with Biggle and Bee as well. But, I haven’t written anything solid yet.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
 I remember being young, in elementary and middle school. I remember thinking of creative experiences that never existed in my life—all the “what if’s”. I remember specifically thinking about this when I was walking through the playground. I thought some of these experiences would make great stories. I listed a ton of them in my mind. I was amazed at the freedom I had in being creative. I could name people my own names and it wouldn’t be wrong. They would do whatever I wanted them to do and it was okay—even if it was impossible. I thought it sounded so easy to put my thoughts on paper. I wrote many, many poems and I loved to rhyme. I wrote short stories and I tried to write longer ones but I just wasn’t patient enough at the time. I wanted to be outside and play too much. But one story in particular I wrote during my days in high school I never finished. It was called Piercekeen and the Sprite which was about a boy and his imaginary friend—a hawk—and the evil Sandman, who took the boy’s father into the dream-world, leaving his physical body in a coma. I kept that particular story in my mind for years. With additional ideas and added details I combined that story with a thought I had 3 years ago about a dream-world high school for young dreamscapers. Scapemaker is that story.

I’ve been writing seriously for about 10 years on the computer, but about 30+ years in my head and in pieces on scratch paper.

What is the one book that everyone should read?
For today’s world I really like Lord of the Flies. I know it’s political and kind of like Hunger Games with youth killing youth, but there’s a moral theme to it that I love. We all have those kinds of children inside of us. We just have to be disciplined and determined enough not to entertain those lawless and reckless thoughts in our own lives. We need to take charge and responsibility for the decisions we make and to be better examples for those around us.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a movie fanatic. If I could see a movie a day in the theatre, I would. I think that’s why I really like to write. I see a movie every day because I visualize things in way that I can’t in a theatre. But I love movies! I am also a photographer. I love to photograph images of Wildlife and Nature. I think that’s why Biggle and Bee was so attractive to me.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I love Mint Chocolate Chip with extra chocolate chips. But, if there’s a root beer float, I’m having that!

Any hidden talents? 
I can put 5 quarter into each of my eye sockets just behind the lid. Yes, you read it correctly. I almost got onto the Late Night Show for a segment they used to do about strange things people can do. They told me they would fly me out if this one act couldn’t make it. But they did and I never got on the show. I can also put a folded up dollar bill in my eye socket as well.

I can also cook. Not to any kind of profession level. But I’ll never starve.

Giveaway!
Steve is giving away one ebook of Biggle and Bee!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    snacksformax
    February 12, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Congratulations to Steve on his first children's story! What were the biggest differences you found between writing YA paranormal and this story?

    Thanks so much for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I'm following you on Twitter. Hope you join us again in March!

    • Reply
      The Fictioneer
      February 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you for your question.

      The biggest difference I think I have found is within my own change of metality when writing. The audience is so much more innocent and teachable. I felt a greater responsibility to write something that would be of greater benefit to the young reader. I had to try and think like a child.

      When I'm writing YA fiction, I have to take my mind and my thoughts back to my good old high school days and bring back to mind the many dramas that took place. There is a certain selfishness and discovering themselves; it's the beginning of the loss of that childhood innocence.

      Also, the use of more descriptive wording and more poeting phrasing is a big difference in the aesthetics and mood of the YA writings.

      I enjoy the drawn out story line of the YA. But I love the closure and to-the-pointedness of the children's books. The simpleness of writing to a child who needs to be hand fed the detaila and moral of the story is less stressful and easier to piece together.

      I hope that answered the question.

      Thanks again1

      Steve Cypert

  • Reply
    Renee C.
    February 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing your post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I had to really look closely and read the review to figure out what was on the cover of the book. Unfortunately book covers often make or break a book. I hope the author can drum up some resources to improve the cover and add illustrations as you mentioned. The book will probably get a better response. It would be a shame to overlook a good story for this reason.

    • Reply
      The Fictioneer
      February 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      I know you weren't speaking directly to me. Although, I appreciate the comment. I do have plans to both illustrate the book itself and to redo the cover. I just needed something to put on the cover to get it going. It was a quick thing I did. I just can't get to the illustrations or cover just yet. Not for a few more months. My sister, Andrea, has agreed to do the art. She illustrated my father-in-law's "children's" book called Flat Dog. (the reason I quoted "children's" was that it is meant more for adults, but its an off-color children's book for adults – not an "adult" book).

      Thank you,

      Steve Cypert
      Author, Biggle and Bee

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